The debate on anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine with representatives of Ukrainian authorities and heads of anti-corruption agencies was held by the European Parliament’s Delegation with the European Commission on Thursday, March 22.
Head of Kharkiv Anti-Сorruption Centre Dmytro Bulakh was one of the Ukrainian delegates, who presented his report at the session concerning the main challenges for the reforms. He talked about lack of commitment among authorities to realize the reforms.
“Unfortunately we observe a certain slowdown and rollback of the reform results. Also, the law, obliging civil society activists working in the field of anti-corruption to submit their e-declarations, is the attack on activists. It demonstrates the resistance to the reforms,” Bulakh says. Reluctance to introduce the Anti-Сorruption Court, ignoring the requirements of European Commission, serves another sign of resistance to practically fighting corruption by Ukrainian authorities and the president of Ukraine, according to Kharkivite.
Bulakh believes that society in Ukraine trusts the civic activists more than current politicians and authorities. He claims that there is a huge demand for fighting corruption in Ukrainian society. Therefore the authorities will have to perform the reforms under the pressure of the society or quit.
Members of European Parliament Dariusz Rosati, Rebecca Harms and Michael Gahler agreed that they saw a lot of resistance in the Verkhovna Rada and other institutions to anti-corruption activity and called Ukrainians to keep working to eradicate corruption. The pace and content of reforms were focused on. The law obliging civil society activists to submit e-declarations and one more year needed to set up the High Anti-Corruption Court was given as the main concerns. However, MEPs concentrated on positive results.
“We believe that the mission is not impossible. The glass is half full and it is important to fill it up with sustainable goals and clear deadlines,” said Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary of the International Anti-Corruption Academy. MEPs also noted that education on the negative effect of corruption on human rights, sustainable development and the rule of law is important.
“The event demonstrated the joint commitment of EU institutions to maintain a strong focus on a successful fight against corruption in Ukraine,” the EP members pointed out.
“Our exchange of views has shown that there is a good reason for hope, as corruption is being combated not only through the setting up of relevant institutions but also through an impressive range of sectoral actions which decisively contribute to closing the space for corruption in many areas,” said the debate organizers.
They expressed their firm intention to monitor the related developments closely and to continue similar discussions, including in Ukraine with the counterparts in the Verkhovna Rada.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Dmytro Bulakh FB